Monday, January 30, 2012

Liz's Lair: Networking at Conferences

First off, let me explain why I am so late with this post. I am madly racing for the deadline of book 3 and was up until the wee hours last night, and I totally forgot about this. Bad me. That's why this is an encore blog dressed up. Here goes.

Mother, Do You Have To Talk To Everyone?

To this day, my kids still ask me that. I love to talk to people and usually do, which brings me to the first part of my topic, networking at conferences.

There is no better place to connect with people who “get” you than at a writers’ conference. Even if you are an introvert, someone like me is going to come up to you and ask what you write. Before you know it, you will be talking to a perfect stranger (me) and wondering exactly how many lattes I had that morning. (Remember Kramer on that one Seinfeld episode when he had too many? That’s me.)

And you wanna know something? Nine times out of ten, your answer will surprise the bejesus out of me. While I pictured you writing sweet romances, you floor me with plots of steamy erotica or vampire-hunting, shape-shifting werewolves. I love conferences for this reason. Even the smaller ones are great for networking. Matter of fact, sometimes they are more intimate and allow for better access to one-on-one time with the editors and agents in attendance.

That said, I LOVE RWA Nationals, one of the biggest ones out there. I adore the crowds, the goody room, the bars at night where everyone in there is talking writing and just about everything else, including the great workshops where you can’t help learning new stuff.Unfortunately, I'm not going this year for two reasons. I can't afford it, and I no longer consider myself a romance author. I decided this year would be all about mysteries.

I leave on Thursday to go to Love is Murder conference in Chicago. It's a small conference, and I'm looking forward to connecting with mystery writers as well as fans. Then in April I'm heading to Bethesda Maryland for the Malice Domestic conference. That's not only a mystery conference, but it's one specifically for cozy authors and readers. Kari, my CP Joni, and our friend Rochelle are going, along with a gazillion cozy names I recognize. If nothing else, it will be a blast. I am on panels at both these conferences, so I need to have a drink or two before since that isn't my strongest suit.

Anyway, I digress. At all the conferences I attend, I like to collect business cards. Because I am of the age where memory doesn’t always serve, I write a little something on the back to help me put a face to the name. Last week, I was going through my stack and decided to share some with you. Most of them simply say stuff like - Canadian at breakfast, Dallas 2007, bookseller at lunch in DC 2009, etc. Some are more specific and a few are downright interesting. Those are the ones I’m gonna list. I’ll leave out the names to protect the innocent – and to keep from getting harassing emails.

A police homicide commander from Atlanta who said to call him anytime. NEVER HEARD FROM HIM.

A woman who won the Librarian of the Year award in 2006. NO CONTACT

Two women I met at the Harlequin party we crashed last year. Both belong to online book clubs and said to let them know when I sell, and they’ll get the word out to buy my book. Yippee!! THIS IS THE WONDERFUL BECKE DAVIS OF B & N WHO HAS BECOME A GREAT CYBER FRIEND.


A young guy from my chapter who asked if I’d look at some of his work. Not being able to say no - another thing I am famous for – I said yes and he whipped out seven chapters. Fortunately for me, his seven chapters were only 20 pages total!! NEVER SEEN OR HEARD FROM HIM AGAIN AFTER I SENT THE CRITIQUE. SHEESH! AM I THAT BAD?

And last but not least, in Reno, I sat with an older guy who was a chiropractor. He said he was shopping his book – are you sitting down? – a 650 page story involving the colon. THANK GOODNESS THIS BOOK NEVER CAME OUT. HAVEN'T EVER SEEN HIM AT ANY OTHER CONFERENCES.

You can’t make up stuff like this!!

And you must be wondering what the cartoon has to do with anything, Absolutely nothing. I just couldn't resist. This one makes me laugh out loud every time I look at it. Kind of like some of the times when I make my killer too obvious.

Got any good stories about meeting other writers?


Donna Cummings said...

Liz, have a great time at the conferences. You're always so much fun to talk to - which is why it cracks me up that you don't like "public speaking". LOL You're a natural at it!

Cozy in Texas said...

I think I need more lattes next time I go to a conference, I tend to listen rather than talk.

Lindsay said...

Conferences are always fun wspecially when you're at it Liz.

Anita Clenney said...

Liz, I really enjoy conferences. but I tend to hang back until someone strikes up a conversation with me. Then, I'll talk their ears off. So thank God for people like you who just talk to everyone!

Liz Lipperman said...

Hey, Donna, I know. I can BS with the best of them, but put me on stage and I lose my voice. Thanks for the encouraging words, though. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Liz Lipperman said...

Cozy, thank God there are people like you who listen because I don't shut up. Maybe we need to go to a conference together!!

Liz Lipperman said...

Ah, Lindsay, what a sweet thing to say. You're no slacker in the fun department at conferences, either.

Liz Lipperman said...

Anita, you come across so sweet when people first meet you. They never know about that inner devil (sweet devil) waiting to party. I still remember how you sent your CP up to the bar to do the shooter for you at Nationals. Loved it.

Becke Davis said...

On the theory that late is better than never, I'm sending you a big MWAH! for the shout-out! So glad we met - count me as a fan!